- Being Alone Together: From Solidarity to Solitude in Urban Anthropology
- Anthropological Quarterly
- George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research
- Volume 82, Number 3, Summer 2009
- pp. 755-777
- View Citation
The characteristic urban experience of solitude challenges traditional anthropological theories of urban life. This article surveys urban theories that treat solitude primarily as loneliness, anomie, and social disorder. It then challenges these theoretical perspectives with ethnographic cases of gay identities and "being alone together," drawn from fieldwork in New Delhi, India. I develop a heuristic concept of "social solitude" in contrast to "solidarity," and examine the political and philosophical consequences of focusing on solitude as an urban way of life and an expression of sexuality. I discuss representations of solitude in modernist literature and conclude with a reading of Deleuze.